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Taking your axiom of cause and effect to be true; why must every cause be an external action? Could we not postulate that random chemical interactions in the brain can act as an impetus? Are there patterns of brain activity that in combination create other set of patterns? I suppose these could be classified as external stimulation - but that then muddies the nice internal/external dichotomy you want to build. How far back are you willing to regress to prove that the cause was external? This is very interesting philosophy and logic that you are writing about - but for a science fair, you have to be able to make verifiable empirical predictions. What you are writing is a superb essay on cognition, philosophy, and logic - it's not at the moment something I can see being realisable in a experimental situation. There is a long discussion of free will on the general science board - it always comes down to definitions and line-drawing. It would be very hard to initiate a true scientific investigation on a philosophical premise such as there is no such thing as free will.
This assertion" every effect has a cause "is at odds with the statistical nature of quantum mechanics
Quote from: Bored chemist on 28/01/2011 06:52:17This assertion" every effect has a cause "is at odds with the statistical nature of quantum mechanicsWe cannot correctly assume without any evidence that the brain can operate on quantum levels, or effect activities on quantum level.
Your brain neurons would essentially be a probabilistic model.Say a neuron has 1000 connections to its dendrites, but requires activation of about 100 to fire. So, there would be a chance it would fire with 99, and not fire with 101 synapses. Or, perhaps the synapses would not all come in simultaneously, so a slight delay might allow the neuron to recover before integrating all the inputs, and likewise not meet the threshold.Can an "accident" truly occur? For example, what might be called "getting your wires crossed" and turning on the wrong stove burner?In fact, there is a field of psychology called "Human Factors" which deals with this type of accidents and the prevention. With the stove, it wouldn't necessarily be "free will, or lack thereof" that caused you to turn on the wrong burner. After all, you did truly want your food heated up.What about opening your car's hood when you meant to release the emergency brake? Again a Human Factors nightmare.If you can conclude that an "accident" can happen, then you must conclude that the system is not 100% deterministic. Likewise, with the 100 billion neurons in the brain, and a thousand or so connections per neuron, ion balances, ion channels, synaptic junction gaps, etc. The brain's state is not 100% deterministic.Thus you have that random element that could lead to free will.
Quote from: siochi on 28/01/2011 11:03:14Quote from: Bored chemist on 28/01/2011 06:52:17This assertion" every effect has a cause "is at odds with the statistical nature of quantum mechanicsWe cannot correctly assume without any evidence that the brain can operate on quantum levels, or effect activities on quantum level.Nobody did.I was just pointing out that one of your assumptions is wrong."Even in QM, outcomes have causes. "OK, I just watched an atom of uranium decay. What caused it to do that at the particular moment I saw it?
What is the underlying cause (and how can you be certain that it exists)?